America and the Great War: Fundamental Drivers

The Great War had a vehement impact on American society and the future history of the country. Nonetheless, a primary goal of this essay is to discover fundamental drivers, which contributed to the American participation in the World War I. Such aspects as nationalism, imperialism, and militarism were the primary reasons for the occurrence of the World War I. However; this report pays vehement attention to the American involvement, contribution, and its neutrality in the beginning. Consequently, the primary goal of this essay is to follow American involvement in the Great War. In the end, the conclusions are drawn.

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Nationalism, Imperialism, and Militarism

It is apparent that there are multiple reasons, which led to World War I, such as nationalism, imperialism, militarism, and the arms race. Firstly, imperialism resulted in the development of conquering attitudes towards the territorial expansion and arms race as a future consequence. Imperialism contributed to the spread of the Western countries around the world and increasing the domination of these countries in the global arena (The origins of WWI, 2012).

As for nationalism, Germany is the country where this phenomenon originated. It is evident that the original goal of the nationalism was to support German natural culture (Vogt, 2012). However, it turned out to be an anti-liberal movement, which led to the significant number of deaths and spread of the German nationalistic ideology around the world. At the same time, the Pan-Slavism movement appeared in Eastern Europe. In this case, the Serbian leader has a desire to expand the territories, and this attitude led to the Balkan wars (The origins of WWI, 2012). Consequently, later the Serbian actions contributed to the expansion of the military operation of the other states, which led to the rising conflict in the global level, as each country wanted to dominate the world. In this instance, even small countries such a Hungary changed their attitudes towards being strongly nationalistic (Kane, 2006). Lastly, the militaristic structure of the states contributed to the development of a positive attitude towards violence to sustain the leading positions in the world (Smith, 2006). It is apparent that all of these political views are interdependent on each other and have a dramatic influence on the war occurrence.

It is evident that the establishment of the alliances was one of the reasons for the outbreak of the war in 1913 (Sandstrom, 2013). This movement increased the tensions between the countries, which were actively forming alliances and advancing their weapons (Williams, 2013). This ‘competition’ was one of the contributors to the war occurrence, as the countries started using any means of power and control to outplay their adversaries. Moreover, the countries were competing on the level of destruction of weapons, and the first biological and nuclear weapons were successfully developed during World War I (Fitzgerald, 2008).

American Neutrality and Reasons for the Entrance

President Wilson was a primary contributor to American neutrality in World War I, as he wanted to remain peaceful in the country and avoid after-war reconstruction (Carey, 2012). In this instance, staying neutral helped avoid the conflicts with the other countries and was beneficial from the economic perspective, as participation in war requires significant financial investments. Another reason for neutrality is Wilson’s assumption that the United States of America can become a world leader after the war, as other countries would be occupied with reconstruction of their political and social structures (Carey, 2012). As for the role of ethnicity, it could be said that America was an extremely multicultural society, as it consisted of newcomers from various European countries (Handout 7, 2014). Consequently, remaining neutral showed respect to other countries and their representatives.

Nonetheless, staying neutral turned out to be inappropriate after particular events. One of the historical drivers for the U.S involvement in the fact that Germany started violent actions towards the American Navy (Carey, 2012). In this instance, the neutrality was unacceptable, as no participation and defense will involve more victims. The primary intention for the entrance in the war was the necessity to secure world peace and gain positive publicity in the world. Nonetheless, British and German ships previously stopped the U.S military, and violent German’s actions, which involved the usage of U-Boat, determined the necessity of American entrance into the war (Handout 7, 2014).

American Contribution and Defeat of the Treaty of Versailles

As for the American contribution, the country was participating in military actions after it was involved in the First World War. It is apparent American involvement changed the flow of history and contributed to the development of the vehement position of the American state in the world. Nonetheless, the size of the U.S. army was not impressive, but its rapid advancement was a primary reason for the United States of America to be a cause of the defeat of the German government (Lloyd, 2014). Nonetheless, the quick growth of the American army had a psychological impact on the German government, as, in this instance, the United States of America remained a powerful and flexible war machine. It could be said that American entrance was one of the reasons for the end of the war and the Treaty of Versailles.

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The American external politics led to the defeat of Germany and prohibited the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles. It could be said that the primary cause of defeat was a rapid military mobilization of the United States of America and the establishment of the League of Nations (Lloyd, 2014). Nonetheless, despite gaining the world leadership and uniting the countries towards collective security, the United States of America decided to avoid any intervention into external conflicts in the future. It is apparent that this phenomenon was against Wilson’s original political principles.

It is evident that President Wilson had a vehement influence both during and after the war and contributed to the development of the League of Nations. Nonetheless, it is questionable whether his intentions were advantageous for the governmental structure in Europe, as the introduction of collective security led to the complications in the following years (Keylor, 2014). It could be said that President Wilson was a key contributor to the creation of the League of Nations, as the primary goal of this organization corresponds with his political principles.


In conclusion, there are many historical and political agents, which contributed to the breakout of World War I. Nonetheless, despite holding neutrality in the beginning, the United States of America still contributed to the war and was one of the key figures for its rapid and establishment of the League of Nations. It could be said that President Wilson was a key leader during World War I and assisted in the development of the social and political views during and after the war.


Carey, C. (2012). Mr. Wilson’s war: peace, neutrality, and entangling alliances in Hemingway’s in our time. The Hemmingway Review, 31(2), 6-26.

Fitzgerald, G. (2008). Chemical warfare and medical response during World War I. American Journal of Public Health, 98(4), 611-625.

Handout 7: World War I. (2014). Web.

Kane, R. (2006). Decisions for War, 1914-1917. Air & Space Power Journal, 20(20), 120.

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Keylor, W. (2014). Realism, idealism, and the Treaty of Versailles. Diplomatic History, 38(1), 215-218.

Lloyd, N. (2014, Jan. 24). How the U.S. helped win World War I. The Wall Street Journal. Web.

Sandstrom, D. (2013). Are the demons sleeping or have they been banished? Culture Mandala: The Bulletin of the Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies, 10(2), 1-11.

Smith, D. (2006). Europe in the Era of Two World Wars: From Militarism and Genocide to Civil Society, 1900-1950. History, 34(4), 126.

The origins of WWI. (2012). Web.

Vogt, S. (2012). The First World War, German nationalism, and the transformation of German Zionism. Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, 57(1), 267-291.

Williams, C. (2013). Explaining the Great War in Africa: How conflict in the Congo became a continental crisis. The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, 37(2), 81-100.

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